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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi --- I am posting on this forum because I need help and I could not think of better people to consult on this issue than all of you ... Here is the problem; I have been a vegetarian (not fully vegan yet for reasons to follow) for about six years now. In the beginning, I was feeling fine, I had plenty of energy and was at a healthy weight. However, lately I have been exhausted approaching mid day and will sometimes wake up around ten a.m only to take a nap around 2p.m until about 6ish. This can't be healthy - I am only 23 years old. I have had no major change in my diet, I only feel that I do not get enough energy, let me rephrase that - I am extremely low on energy. I have never carefully calculated my nutritional intake, I have no idea how much (protein, calories, etc) I should have per day. I have also started gaining weight (obviously due to my slow metabolism lately) although I am active on a fairly daily basis (hiking, swimming, running ...). Maybe someone could list things that are 'Essential to A Vegetarians Diet' or 'Things All Vegetarians Must Have in the Kitchen' ... please don't send me on a crusade to find some strange plant that only one health food store in the northern hemisphere carries - if you know what i mean ... ok, thats all .... please help! I want my days back.
 

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Have you checked your iron level? Sounds like lack of iron (which is very common in vegetarian females unless you pay extra attention). I have to take multivitamins and extra Vc otherwise I don't feel fully functioning. Another possibility is thyroid problems.

BTW, thanks for the post in the culture&body thread
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
no -- i haven't checked my iron levels -- how do I do this? Do I have to go and see my doctor? Could you reccommend a good multivitamin? Thanks sooo much! This could be a lead ...
 

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The book "Becoming Vegan" is a good resource for the nuts and bolts of vegan nutrition. It really gets down to the nitty gritty.

This may not apply, but I thought I might throw it out there: Are you experiencing any unusual stress in your life - or do you feel "depressed"? These will also drain your energy. If you've been vegetarian 6 years now - and now suddenly you have this lack of energy - it might be due to other reasons.
 

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Yeah you have to go to see your doctor. The test is very simple. If I were you, I would want to check the thyroid function. I just buy the cheap store brand multi that contains 18mg (100% daily value) of iron. I know food source is the best bet but I don't have time to worry about calculating the 18 mg of iron, you know. But never take more than that, over dose of iron can be toxic.

FM
 

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I'm glad you posted this because I've been tired too so I'm going to buy Becoming Vegan and look into what exactly I need. Based on what I eat each day, I am probably not getting everything I need. I eat primarily vegetables and whole grains with not alot of tofu and nuts. I don't take a multi-vitamin either so I'll also do that. Thanks for posting the question I needed to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
To answer your question : DV --- no, I am not feeling depressed, a little stressed maybe, but it is more of a physical feeling. I am simply exhausted .... I think I will try the multivitamin thing, 'sunshine' I would be interested to see how you feel as well after taking the multi ... maybe we could compare notes?
--- I should also check into the thyroid thing ... are there any vegetables that anyone could point me towards that might be high in iron? I know broccolli is a good source .... I will start experimenting ...
 

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spinach has tons iron. soy products have lots iron too. I need to check the "becoming vegan" to give you accurate info.

another thing. iron impede calcium from being absorbed, so don't take the two kind of supplements close to each other.

Edit: found out this....

bran flake 1 cup 11mg

cream of wheat 1/2 cup 5.5 mg

oatmeal i packet 6.3mg

Kelp 1/2 cup 42mg

Tofu 1/2 cup 6.6mg

blackstrap molasses 1TP 3.3mg

Yay....I didn't realize it's so easy to get 18mg of iron from food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Spinach is not a reliable source of iron or calcium. While it has lots of both in it, it is not absorbed into your body.
 

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Your lack of energy and recent weight gain are some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include: cold intolerance, constipation, lowering of the voice, heavy periods, slow mental functioning and dry skin with coarse, brittle hair. One of the causes is iodine deficiency. Do you cook with iodized salt? You should visit your doctor and get a blood test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You said you really don't pay attention to your nutritional intake. It would be a *really* good idea to either fully educate yourself on nutrition or keep a daily log for a week of what you eat and visit a nutritionist. It's really hard to know if you're lacking in something if you aren't educated in nutrition. Having a good balance of protein, good fats and good carbs is essential to good health and energy.

Lack of energy can also be a sign of dehydration. Make sure you're drinking a lot of water (about 1/2 ounce for every pound that you weigh plus 2 to 4 cups extra if you exercise intensely). Fruit juice, teas and "watery" food like fruits and veggies also help your water intake.

As said above, taking a multivitamin is a very good idea. It definitely can't replace a poor diet, but it can be a bit of "insurance" for your health.
 

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The problems you're having are probably caused by some missing nutrients in your diet. Take a step back and look at what you're eating. Is your bread wheat, or white? Rice white, or brown? Lettuce romaine, or iceberg?

Take a mulitvitamin daily! That'll get you back on track in just a couple weeks.

If you eat three meals a day, try eating whenever you need to instead. Have snacks! Eat some nuts or raisins!

Make sure your salt is iodized or make sure you're taking a supplement with iodine in it.

And I think one of the most important things to do is to make sure your diet is varied! Do you eat the same foods every day?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
guakgirl,

Would you post what you eat in a typical day please? I can take a look at it and let you know if you're missing anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ok ---- this morning I had canteloupe (fresh) cut up into one container of yogurt for breakfast.

--- I had steamed broccolli, cauliflower, peas and carrots mixed with a little bit of low fat italian dressing for lunch

--- for dinner I had a veggie stir fry with egg noodles (1/2 cup), lentil beans, carrots, broccoli, onions, corn and a little spoon of honey --- I had a Haagen Daas Fruit&Yogurt Ice Cream bar for dessert (90 calories .. not typical!)

That's It. This is a typical day for me ... I also had two cups of coffee with cane sugar and a glass of orange juice....

.... I had maybe two glasses of water today....

ok, let me have it .... lol.

---DrVeg - I do cook with iodized salt --- the symptoms you describe do sound familiar though ... I also get the strangest rise in body temperature when I sleep (very hot to touch, almost feverish) could this be related?

---Now I am scared something might be very wrong ... is this thyroid test a complex one?

thanks for all of your help everyone ... it is comfoting to know you all are out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You don't eat enough, that's why you're exhausted. I can see, without calculating, a serious lack of iron, zinc, calcium in your diet.

More then likely you are a) anemic or borderline b) hungry or c) both a & b

Eat more nuts, beans, milk/soymilk/tofu, fruit, lentils and whole grains.
 

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Everything you eat is very healthy, but there's not a whole lot of heartiness to it! Just some fruits and vegetables. You need a big steak!


No really, you could definitely go for some complex carbs like brown rice and hearty bread! Go get some mashed potatoes with gravy!

Don't be scared about your health though, the second you fix what's wrong with it, it won't get any worse than it is right now! Only better, and that's good news.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I agree. You're definitely not getting enough calories. You *really* need to get some protein, good fats and good carbs in your diet. The protein is almost non-existent in the day of food you posted. Try adding a few nuts & beans to your day, along with a little soy.
 

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Since you felt fine at first, I'm wondering if you are lacking vitamin b12....Our body stores it, so you may have had enough for a long while but have since run out. I would get a supplement, just to be sure.


lovenlight,

linz
 

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You asked about the thyroid test -- it's just a simple blood test. I have a hypothyroid problem (the thyroid basically doesn't do its job and slows waayyyy down), but it comes and goes, so I don't have to take any medication. I'd suggest getting checked now, then going back in three months or so to get tested again -- that way, you'll know whether your thyroid is continually underactive, or whether it comes and goes.

As a side note, I recognize that sometime in the (potentially near) future, I'll start having to take a daily pill to regulate my thyroid function -- but the doctor wants to hold off until my thyroid really kicks out.
But even IF -- and that's a big IF -- you have to start taking a thyroid med, it's no big deal -- it's just like taking a daily multivitamin.

Anyway, good luck! Hope I helped. You can always PM me if you have questions!
 
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